The Sd.Kfz. 251 was an armored half tracked fighting vehicle made for the Wehrmacht. It was used for carrying infantry into action, allowing them to fight from the vehicle on the move. There were four main body types (A, B, C and D) and overall 23 different versions of this famous halftrack. It was based on the Sd.Kfz. 11 3-ton chassis. This halftrack was powered by a six-cylinder water-cooled engine, manageable of producing 100 HP and manufactured by Maybach, Norddeutche Motorenbau and Auto-Union.
This model kit from Zvezda
depicts the Sd.Kfz. 251/10 ausf. B equipped with the 3.7 cm Pak on the front of the superstructure. These types of halftracks were issued for the platoon commanders of Panzer Divisions. Early versions used the original full-length gun shield which was later modified to lower the vehicles silhouette.
The box contains 374 parts on eight sprues molded in light grey plastic, the instructions and a sheet of decals. Most of the parts are moulded nicely, with fine, but sometimes soft details, but thereís also some flash and sink holes on them. There are also knockout marks on the parts, but they wonít be visible after construction. All the parts are numbered on the sprues. Unfortunately my kit had some broken parts, but nothing very serious.
Instructions and Markings:
The instructions are printed in black and white. On the first page there is a smaller picture of the box art and a brief history of the Sd.Kfz. 251/10. On the other side of the front page there are pictures of the sprues. The instructions are easy to follow and they also give you the painting suggestions you need for completing the model. The last page gives you two colour schemes and the placement of the decals. The colour codes for Model Master enamels and Zvezdasí own paints are included on the side of the box, and on the last page of the instructions.
Two different decal markings are provided in this kit. Decals include number plates, instrument panel displays and three Balkankreuzís.
The two marking options included are as follows:
ē 23. Panzer Division, Eastern front, Summer 1942.
ē 18. Panzer Division, Eastern front, Kursk area, July 1943.
Axles, Tracks and Wheels:
The front wheels, suspension and axle builds up from 9 parts. These parts have some minor flash, that shouldnít be too hard to remove with a hobby knife. The front leaf spring is moulded with very good details and has well defined leaves. Unfortunately, it has a central mould line, which should be carefully removed. The front wheels have the right overall diameter, but the rims are 1.5 mm too wide and the rim hubs have a sink hole on top of them. The tire pattern appears to be incorrect as well. I looked through all my reference material and I didnít find any picture with a tire pattern depicted on these tires.
The rear axle parts have very soft details and central mould lines to clean away. The drive sprockets are nicely moulded, but are missing the flat angled sections around the rim where the tracks are supposed to sit on. The road wheels have the correct diameter and nice bolt details on them. The holes in the outer road wheels are too small and have a raised area around them, which shouldnít be there. Also, the hubs on the outer road wheels extend too far out and have some kind of a star cross on them that I havenít found in any photos. The inner road wheels, on the other hand, are missing the raised area around the holes. Other than those couple of things, the road wheels are pretty nice.
The kit includes 140 individual track links. They are the Zpw 5001/280/140 pressed links with rubber pads (of course the pads in the kit are plastic). Each link and pad is connected to the sprue at two points which will require some careful cleaning up. Sink holes on the pads range from none to quite deep. In addition, the tracks are 0.5 mm too wide and long. Finally, the instructions show you to use 55 links on each side of the tracks, when in fact it should be 56 on the right and 55 on the left. Also, found during a trial run, there is a fit problem with the tracks that I will try to address in the build log.
The kit includes a full Maybach HL 42 TUKRM engine. The engine builds up from 20 parts including the large radiator. Most of the parts have mould lines that you should remove if you want to leave the engine visible, but thatís up to the individual.
The firewall has some flash on it, and doesnít have a moulded on instrument panel although the decals included should make this sufficiently realistic looking. The panel undercut is much too shallow and is missing the gas pedal. The steering wheel moulds must have been a little offset, causing it to have mould lines running along it sides. Also, there is a sink hole in the center of it which will require filling.
The floor plate is moulded in one piece with nice, although basic, antiskid plating. The transmission hump seems to be a little too long, but Iím not 100% sure of it. The radio, that is included, is pretty nice and looks a lot like the real Funksprechgerat F
, although it is missing the rack that it is supposed to be mounted in, a bit of fairly simple scratchbuilding should take care of that.
Now, concerning the rest of the interior, things get a little mixed up. The benches, front seats and equipment storage layout are incorrect for an ausf. B, and are more suitable for an ausf. C. The rear benches should be plain benches without storage boxes underneath them. The front seatbacks should be very simple consisting of one support post. Fortunately, the kit seats donít have any spring details on their backsides, so you could easily scratchbuild the support post. Keep in mind that the seat backs have knockout marks in them that should be filled with some putty.
The kit directs you to use storage lockers on the walls of the interior and to stow rifles and jerry cans in them. Since the ausf. B didnít have storage lockers on their walls, this part of the instructions should be omitted. The rifles should be mounted on the walls of the fighting compartment with simple brackets. Even though some of these kit parts are wrong for an ausf. B, they are still nicely moulded without flash and mould lines, and may prove to be useful in another build.
First of all I would like to say, that this ausf. B should have the welded hull, but none of the hull parts have weld marks on them.
The upper superstructure is moulded in one piece with a slight amount of flash. It has openings for the back doors and vision ports. The upper hull sidewalls are moulded very nicely without any flash or pin marks. Unfortunately, the separate lower back wall piece was broken in my kit. The two rear doors with their large hinges are moulded very nicely. The hinges have some minor seam lines and will require care when removing them from the sprues because they are easy to damage.
Now comes the time to do some ďrivet countingĒ. The outer back wall part of the upper superstructure is missing 16 rivets. Also the rivets on the doors are a bit undersized and positioned slightly off. The two jerry can holders that are supposed to go on the rear doors were also damaged in my kit. But that is not a big problem, since the holders were not always used.
The lower hull consists of 7 parts; the lower floor plate, four crossbeams and two side panels. The floor plate is moulded with fine rivet details, and the two side panels have the axle supports that are basically detailed. The parts have no flash or visible knockout marks.
The engine compartment parts have some flash and the big engine cover part is a bit warped on the right side in my kit. In addition the air intake grill is too narrow and has only 13 slots instead of 16. All engine bay doors are separate parts allowing the engine to be displayed, if so desired. Some of the bolts on the bay door hinges are a bit softly moulded. The fenders are adequate, but will require a slight amount of clean up. The other parts included for the hull are the radio antenna, the Notek blackout light, the front lights (that are a bit oversized), the front bumper, and the width indicators.
3.7 cm Pak:
The PAK parts are, in general, moulded very nicely. The gun barrel is moulded in two halves and dry fitting revealed the two halves donít align very well, so some work will be needed there. The gun shield consists of two parts as well. The outer side has fine rivet details, the inside has knockout marks which should not be visible after the gun has been placed in its place.
The kit includes eight Kar98 rifles, two MP40, six jerry cans, one MG42, two shovels, a pick axe, and an axe. Some of the rifles have flash on their sights and the jerry cans have mould lines. The MG shield is a bit thick and the instructions donít indicate where to use the MG, which is fine since itís not necessary to use the MG.
In conclusion this kit is not very good in terms of accuracy. But if you leave that aside, then itís a pretty good kit with a fair amount of parts and details. You can also build the Sd.Kfz. 251/1 with this kit, because it has all the parts you need for it. So, I recommend this kit for all halftrack lovers, who would like to have an ausf. B in their collection, and are willing to do a little extra work.
The following books and websites were used to do this review:
ē German Half-Tracks of World War Two
(Concord Publications Company)
ē SdKfz 251 in action
ē Sd Kfz 251 vol. I and II
ē SDKFZ 251 HALF-TRACK
1939-1945 (Osprey Military)
ē Piet van Heesís website about Sd.Kfz. 251 http://www.pietvanhees.nl/251/index.htm
And thanks to Gary Kato
for his assistance in providing measurements.
A Build Log
has been started on the Forums to evaluate the kit construction.